In some marriages, it is not only the lives of the husband and wife that change, but also the lives of the children they may already have. When two families are blended together into one, it is important that all members of the family be included in the wedding ceremony.
When planning the family wedding, input from the children should be considered. They can help with the invitations, the favors or picking out colors. When shopping for wedding attire, ask for the children's opinions on dresses or tuxedos. When selecting a bridal party, the children should be the first choice for age appropriate roles. Teenagers can serve as bridesmaids or groomsmen and small children can serve as flower girls and ring bearers. The children can serve as ushers or oversee the guest book. Additionally, you may opt for the children to accompany the bride and groom down the aisle. Make sure that the children are comfortable in their designated roles before making final plans.
Vows are the most meaningful component of a wedding ceremony. To include the children in this portion of the ceremony, ask them for their input, incorporate the children in the vows, write separate vows for the children or a combination of the three. This will create an emotional bond between both the parents and the children. When making vows to children, you are reassuring them of your love and devotion to them as well as to your spouse. On a more personal level, present each step-child with a customized gift symbolizing your individual commitment to her.
A unity candle is the symbol of the unity of two people, or two families. After the bride and groom light their unity candle, each child lights a taper candle from the pillar candles. Have the older children help with the smaller children, or if there are only young children, the bride and groom should assist them. An alternative to a unity candle is a sand vase. Represented by an individual color, each member of the family pours her colored sand into one large vase, creating a blended formation of colors that symbolizes the unity of the new blended family.
The newly blended family can bond and celebrate with other family members at the reception. Have each child's favorite food available at the refreshment table. After the bride and groom's first dance, allow each child to dance with the step-mother or step-father to a song selected by the respective child. The children might also enjoy reading poems or letters or singing songs to the parents. Teenagers can make an official toast to the newlyweds.
Traditionally, a honeymoon is for the bride and groom alone. After the bride and groom return from their honeymoon, consider taking a second "family" honeymoon, or family trip, somewhere the family can stay one night or longer. Include ideas from the children when deciding where to go.